Let's Talk About Grace [Ep 002]
Jul 04, 2018
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- Every episode of this podcast you’ll hear me say that this show is about truth and grace. Why truth and grace? 2 Peter 3: 18 states, “But grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever! Amen.”
- In this verse, Peter shows us that in order to grow as Christians we need to grow in both grace and knowledge, or truth. As a Christian, you can’t grow only through grace. Or only through truth. You need to grow in both!! A Christian with all grace and no knowledge will not understand God’s plan and purpose for their life spoken through the Word of God found in the Bible. Similarly, a Christian with all knowledge and no grace will lack growth because they will become know-it-all Christians lacking the grace, compassion, and love that is supposed to be a part of our Christian lives.
- Now, let me be clear. We’re not talking about anyone’s sins. We’re talking about grace. I will never talk about anyone’s personal sins. Your sins are none of my business. Nor are they the business of any other Christian. They are between you and God. When I evangelize, I could be talking to a convicted murderer, but that is not an issue to me. You see, ALL of our sins were judged on the cross. Even the sins of the worst sinner in human history. Why do we judge each other when the Lord Jesus Christ was judged for us? Grace is what God does for us. Grace is the cross of Christ. Grace is the solution to the problem of sin. So let’s talk about the solution. Not the problem.
- Now, I want to define what grace is. Grace, as taught by my pastor Bob Thieme of Berachah Church in Houston Texas, is all that God is free to do for Man on the basis of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Grace is freely given by God and underserved by mankind. Grace is based upon God’s character, not ours. In grace, God does all the work. You see, this is what separates Christianity from all other religions and belief systems of the world. In Christianity, God does all of the work for us. We simply believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and we receive eternal life. But any other religion will tell you that you have to work and work and work in order to go to heaven. Well, that’s a crazy way to live your life. How much work will it take to build your stairway to heaven? How much work will it take to impress God? Imagine living your life not knowing if you’re going to heaven or not. Not knowing if you’ve done enough for God. But the Lord Jesus Christ said “Tetelestai” or “It is Finished.” He did all the work! And we can’t add anything to it! All we do is believe!
He looked at the helpless thief hung on a cross who couldn’t do anything and said, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).
- It’s so hard for us to understand grace because we’re always told that if we just work harder than we’ll get whatever we want in life. We can work our way into the job we want. We can work our way to get the college degree or grades that we want. We can work hard so we can get a nice paycheck and live the lifestyle we want. And, believe me, there is nothing wrong with hard work. But God isn’t impressed with anything that we do. I’m sorry but you can’t take your human accomplishments with you to heaven. Anything that is done under the energy of our corruptible flesh is what the Bible calls dead works. Isaiah 64:6 states, “all of us become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” The correct Hebrew translation of this verse actually states, “menstrual rags.” There you go, there’s a great description of the great things you do under the energy of the flesh. Under the energy of the sin nature. Romans 5:12 states, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people because all sinned.” You see there is something in theology called spiritual death. We are all born physically alive but spiritually dead because Adam’s sin belongs to us. We’ve all inherited a sinful nature. And guess what, as long as you’re alive on this earth, you’ll always have your sin nature.
- This is why I say in the song, “Oh I am Weak.” Because I am weak. We’re all weak. Oh, I know, but some of you all are thinking…..but I’m a good person. I’m a moral person. I really don’t have any big weaknesses. Uhm, yeah you do. You’re just not looking at yourself clearly in the mirror. You’ve airbrushed yourself. You don’t see what God sees. Isaiah 55:9 says, “Just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” If you think you’re the best thing since sliced bread because everyone around you tells you that you’re such a great person, you better watch out. Proverbs 16:18 states that “Pride comes before destruction.” Pride was the first sin in history when Satan looked at himself and said he would become like God. And pride is subtle. Pride is pointing out the weaknesses in other people without looking at yourself objectively. Pride is looking down your nose at someone else because they don’t commit the same sins you do. Pride results in self-righteous arrogance. So I’m telling anyone listening to this podcast that we’re all weak. We all need God’s grace. We don’t earn it. We don’t deserve it. God, seeing our helpless condition. Seeing how we could never attain perfect righteousness on our own. He sent his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. You’ve all heard John 3:16 which states, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
- Now, if you’re a believer in Christ, I want to tell you that God’s grace doesn’t run out once you believe in Christ. God always deals with us in grace. This contradicts a lot of versions of Christianity which emphasize works after salvation over the grace of God. Remember 2 Peter 3:18 - we grow by means of grace and God’s truth. We must grow as Christians or we will be no different than the unbeliever. So as Christians we must always remain oriented to God’s grace and to God’s Word. So you don’t have to enter a spiritual king of the mountain competition once you become saved. You don’t have to rush to give all of your money to the church. You don’t have to give up things like smoking, or publicly confess your faith, or stand on a street corner and witness. But you do need to grow. You need to put on the new man as discussed in Ephesians 4:24. This won’t happen overnight. But just relax. God will transform you. It’s His truth and Holy Spirit. All you need to do is consistently learn, think, and apply the Word of God to your life. It sounds simple. But God keeps it simple. Grace is simple. As human beings, we always make things way too complicated. We always have to put our own spin on things.
- And believe me, Christians put their own spin on the gospel of Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ said, “It is Finished.” Finished means finished. That means Travis, you don’t need to add to it. Why are we always trying to undermine the grace of God? Why is His grace not good enough for us? It’s like flying across the ocean and telling the pilot that he’s not going fast enough. You tell him that you need to get out and push the airplane. But you don’t need to push the airplane. The engines are doing all of the work.
- Now I’m going to tell a quick story to illustrate my point. The Army has something called Ranger School. It’s a 60-day course that’s completed in three phases (one at Fort Benning Georgia, one in the mountains in Georgia, and the last phase are in the swamps of Florida). It’s probably the most difficult school in the Army. Only about 50 percent actually graduate ranger school. So, Travis Reinold with untreated ADHD went through Ranger School. Yeah, it was a struggle. You see, situational awareness just isn’t my thing. Heck, I can write songs apparently. But being a field Soldier just isn’t my strength. So there I was in the swamp phase of Florida. And this was my second time through the Florida phase. Ranger School had become a 100-day course for me (rather than 60). I was lost in the sauce. I was soup sandwich. And I had one patrol left. If I failed it then I’d fail the course and the last 100 days of little food, little sleep, extreme pain, and extreme misery were for nothing. I remember going to a Protestant Chaplain’s service and falling asleep throughout the entire service. Yup, I don’t remember a word that the Chaplain said. I just remember waking up and singing Amazing Grace. Then the next thing I knew the Ranger Instructor told me that I was going to lead the next patrol. An Air Assault mission with helicopters. Well, I’d never done an Air Assault mission before in my life. Much less had I ever led one. So that patrol turned into a disaster. I remember getting out of the helicopter, looking around me, and not knowing which direction was north. And I certainly didn’t know where the objective was that we had to attack. You know, the building with all of the pretend bad guys. I hoped that the lead platoon would figure out where they were going. But they didn’t. It was probably the worst patrol that I ever saw. And I was the fearless leader of this debacle. Thinking that I was going to fail Ranger School, something unusual happened. The Ranger Instructor gave me a second chance. And the next day, without doing anything, my subordinates did such a great job that I passed the patrol and passed Ranger School.
- From this experience, God taught me that despite my weaknesses, He is in charge. He delivers. He provides. He blesses. And it doesn’t depend upon us. It ALL depends upon him. This is grace.
- And whether you are a believer in Christ or not, we are all the recipients of God’s grace. We do not take a breath, our hearts do not make a beat without the grace of God. If it weren’t for the grace of God, gravity would cease to exist and we’d all fall off this planet into an abyss.
- So for me, growing in grace is getting a divine perspective on life. It’s seeing things in their proper perspective. It’s seeing ourselves for who we really are (we are weak) and seeing God for who He really is (He is strong).
I want to close this episode a few Bible verses.
- For the unbeliever, we can capitalize on God’s grace through Ephesians 2:8, 9 - “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.”
- For the believer, we can capitalize on God’s grace by being filled with the Holy Spirit. When we sin, we regain the filling of God the Holy Spirit by privately confessing our sins to God the Father. Every day, we will all continue to stumble and fall badly. We don’t have to feel sorry for anything. That’s a work. Utilize God’s grace and merely confess. 1 John 1:9 states, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
- We must never forget grace! For the unbeliever, rejection of God’s grace results in judgment. John 3:36, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on them.” And for the believer, rejection of God’s grace will result in discipline. Hebrews 12:6 states, “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and he scourges every son whom He receives." You’ll never lose your salvation. Once you’re in God’s family, no one can take you out. That’s also grace! But when we turn away from God’s grace then His justice gets involved.
- I hope you all found this episode informative. As 2 Peter 3:18 states, we must all continue to grow in grace and truth. So next time we’ll speak about what truth really is. Because there are a lot of crazy ideas out there today about what is truth and what is not. Until next time, I’m Travis Reinold, the host of the “You Make Me Strong” podcast.
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